tv Washington Journal CSPAN November 6, 2014 8:53pm-9:37pm EST
and i'm a very partisan kind of person. but the reason i almost have none is i think you all do a tremendous job of showing just about every side of everything the way people look at things in d.c. and elsewhere. i take my hat off to you. thank you very much. >> continue to let us know what you think about the programs you are watching. the 2015 student cam video competition is under way. open to all middle and high school students to create a five to seven minute documentary on the theme the three branchs and you. showing how a policy, law or action by the executive, legislative or judicial branch has affected you or your community.
200 cash prizes for students and teachers totaling $100,000. for rules and how to get started, go to studentcam.org. more from interviews with university presidents in the big 10 conference. this is robert barchi from rutgers. it's about 40 minutes. >> c-span bus' big 10 tour wraps up today. today, c-span is on the campus of rutgers university in new jersey. joining us from rutgers is the university president there, dr. robert barchi. he will take your questions, your comments about higher education. let me give the lines out here for our viewers. students, 202-585-3880. parents, 202-585-2881.
educators, 202-585-3882. new jersey residents, 202-585-3883. you don't have to have ties to rutgers. we want to hear comments, questions about higher education. dr. barchi, let me begin with what keeps you up at night about higher education, the challenges with it. >> well, that is a huge question. i guess it depends on the day of the week. there's something every day that keeps me up at night. i guess the biggest issues for me revolve around how we provide a quality education to all of the students in this state who can benefit from it at a price that they can afford. a condition where support for the university is decreasing financially from the state and expenses at the university level continue to rise. it's a huge challenge for us. >> what about college aid, financial aid for students? how does it work at rutgers university?
what are your concerns with that? the federal government assistance for kids to attend college. >> well, as you know, at rutgers we have a particularly high percentage of pell grant recipie recipients. 37% of our students are pell grant recipients. they are families who are less than two times the minimum poverty level. so we have a very needy student population that we want to educate. we depend heavily on sources of support for those students both internally, from our own resources, and externally from the state and from the federal government. we simply couldn't educate our students with all the expenses of doing so without help from the government, from the state and from our private supporters. >> i want to show you a column in "the new york times" and show it to our viewers as well. they write this that why aid for college is missing the mark.
in 1987, when he was ronl reagan's education secretary, william bennett wrote, a famous essay denouncing federal aid for higher education because it allowed colleges likely to raise their tuition at little benefit to students. nearly two decades laters, it seems he was right. he didn't know the half of it. dr. barchi, have colleges raised their tuition in line with more college aid being provided by the government? >> i would first call your attention to the very last paragraph of that essay which states that college education is a tremendous value to the student, to the individual and a tremendous value to society. that was his conclusion when he wrote the article. i believe it is still true today. the issue really is how you control the flow of financial aid and you make sure that
financial aid is being appropriately used by universities across the country. if you have seen one university, you have seen one. you can't lump them all together. if you are going to criticize the coupling between financial aid and tuition at a for-profit university or a private university and a public university, they are totally different sets facts. so you have to ask the question more specifically with regard to the university you are talking about. i can tell you here at rutgers that we make every possible effort to keep that down. we are moving to a process which is more visible to anyone who wants to look and see what the costs are. we are perfectly willing to be accountable for what it costs to educate a student here. >> i want to talk about your background a little bit. you are a medical doctor. you have an m.d., and research
universities, what role does rutgers university play in healthcare research? what benefit do you think that gives or adds to the healthcare in this country? >> sure. i am an mcht d. and a ph.d. it depends which day of the week and what the topic is. for a great research university -- and rutgers is a great research university. it's one of the top public research universities in the country. a major part of our portfolio by definition involves things related to human health and wellness, to disease, to human biology. and having all the components of that on our campus. the basic research, the clinical research, the clinical care components as well as the arts and sciences and humanities necessary for any well-rounded individual who is going to participate in clinical care or research is critical to our
mission. >> one thing that you brought up and one thing that you have focused on personally is diseases. i'm wondering with the ebola situation, the outbreak in west africa, the ebola disease, how do you think this country is handling that? and not only this country but the world. >> well, i think if you look at it from the perspective of the world, it's a response that has multiple levels. how do you deal with the disease as a disease? how do you treat the individual patient? do you have in your location the healthcare system that can handle providing that treatment? is there the simple basic sanitation and care in place to deal with it? that differs from country to country. how countries are prepared or able to deal with ebola is tremendously different if you are dealing with a country in, for example, locations in africa
or if you are dealing with something that happens in france or in england or the united states. i think the cdc has been working very, very hard to lay out the guidelines for dealing with a suspected ebola case. in disseminating that information to hospitals and to clinical practices. i think the one case that we have recently dealt with in texas and the number of cases, including several here that we suspected initially of being ebola, have given us an opportunity to run through that protocol and make sure we understand what we're doing and that we understand what we would do if we had a documented case in our vicinity. i think that here in this country, we are prepared. fortunately, we have that kind of infrastructure. we have the preparation. we have the clinical care facilities and the public facilities to handle the response. >> you have had some suspected cases there. what's the process like for when
you have a suspected case? are you happy with those drills that you have done? >> well, let me say that i am not an infectious disease specialist. i'm going to comment as an informed layperson. i think i am pleased with the rigor of the cdc's approach. i'm very pleased with the serious approach that our clinicians and our hospitals take to implementing that. i think that was evidenced by the way they handled the two cases this past weekend where ebola was raised as a possibility. the protocol involves how you hanel the patient, the establishment of isolation around the patient, the documentation of contacts and the contacts that those people might have contacted so that you can very rapidly trace back any risk to a broader population and then moving to document whether the disease is present or not and at that point bifurcating to treatment of ebola or treatment
of some other disease that might be present and falling back to a lower level of threat. >> before we get to phone calls, tell our viewers what sort of medical research is being done at rutgers and what sort of grants do you get from the federal government for that research and the amount. >> sure. we are doing something in excess of $700 million worth of sponsored research expenditures here at rutgers every year. it covers the spectrum from research that's involved with protecting our coastlines to atmospheric sciences to research that deals with drones and their implementation and safety that surrounds that to research that involves biomedical topics of all sorts from infectious diseases like the ones that you have been talking about to cancer to neurologic diseases. and fundamental research that has to do with what goes on in the human body and makes us
tick, how we can produce better chemicals, how we can improve the processes of engineering. our chemistry and chemical biology department is number one in the nation in terms of research expenditures. our research covers the spectrum. that's part of our job. we are here to educate. we are here to push back the frontiers of knowledge through our research. we're here to translate that new knowledge to the benefit of the community by building new companies, by working with companies in the community and by translating that technology out to the economy. >> dr. barchi, what's it like to try to compete for these federal dollars for contracts? what's the process like as well? >> well, first, most of these are not contracts, per se. >> grants. >> they are research grants initiated by the investigator. over the last ten years, after the ramp up of government funding for nih in the 2000 --
1990 to 2000, funding from the government has been decreasing. competition is very intense among investigators. only the very best research projects are funded. and often not at the level that we would like to see. i'm not so concerned about our investigators, per se. i'm concerned about the research capacity of the nation. we built this wonderful research engine since 1950, 1960. it has made us a leader in the world in terms of research and development and our economy and being the ones who put out there the new discoveries in medicine and technology and engineering. over the last ten years, we have been slipping. we have been slipping in part because we don't spend on research the percentage of our gross national product that most of our competitors do. i think that's short sighted. i think it's an issue where some of the best and brightest who we bring in to science and technology in our educational
institutions don't see a future there and wind up taking careers elsewhere. which is going to be a problem for the country five years, ten years, 20 years from now. >> let's go to lori who is our first phone call in illinois, a parent there. you are on the air. go ahead. >> caller: thanks for taking my call. i'm calling because i'd like to know why colleges aren't doing more to lobby congress for help. they have been focusing on bringing down the interest rates on college loans. my husband and i have $90,000 in loans. by the time we're done paying that off, we will have literally paid about over $30,000 in interest. also, the economy is doing better, but families aren't feeling it. i think truly part of the reason for that is families are so -- they're drowning with the financial debt from colleges. also, i wanted to mention that
maybe what we need to do is reduce the amount of years it takes to get a bachelor's degree. at least that could possibly bring things a little bit more in line to what families can afford. i thank you very much. >> thanks for those questions. you raise a number of interesting points. as i said earlier in the segment, we are very, very concerned about the cost of education for our students. we're trying to do everything we can to keep it under control. there are some strictures where a public university so in terms of what we can do in terms of lobbies. there's some things we can do and some we can't. we try all the time to make our state and federal legislators aware of the challenges we face and more importantly the challenges that our students face and to see if we can't get them to help us with those things. we have had some response there. i must say that academics are not always as well coordinated in making their voice heard as
some of our commercial neighbors out there in the business community. we could take some lessons from them. you also raise the issue of the cost and its impact on families. we recognize that. i have four children who went through college. the last is recently graduated and still in graduate school. i fully appreciate the expenses myself. i'm not sure how many families can possibly sustain the debt burden that they are facing to bring their children forward. there is no doubt that at college education has benefit for the individual, for the student in society as well as for society. we have the obligation to make sure that it remains affordable, that we can see our way to doing that and making sure everybody has that opportunity. >> dr. barchi, she mentioned reducing the number of years it takes to get a b.a. >> yes.
thank you. that's another issue that we're looking at. i think we all are concerned about accountability at the college level. we tend to look too much at the inputs to college, what's the average grade point average and the s.a.t. scores. in fact, we need to focus on the output. are we graduating students? are those students graduating in a reasonable period of time? somehow we have to figure out whether they are succeeded. we don't have a good measure of that yet. >> why is that? >> well, because there isn't any well accepted measure of what success means. do you measure it five years after graduation? the number of students employed in their field, the number of students who wind up being ceos? let's focus on the graduation time. most of us went to college and graduated in four years. nowadays it's very common for students not to graduate for five years. that's the typical time. why? i can tell you that most of our
students here at rutgers are working and working many times two jobs. so they don't have the luxury of taking full course loads and summer courses to get out in the usual period of time. many others are taking semesters abroad to broaden their education or are doing research projects that take a semester. there are a variety of reasons why five years might be a better measure than four. one of my biggest concerns is to be sure that students who come to college are prepared for college work. we can't have students entering higher education at the college level who haven't be prepared in high school for college level work. the amount of work -- time we are spending remediating our incoming students to what we think is a level that's able to benefit from college level courses adds to the time that they are in our institution. it's not just college. it's the k-12 system that needs to be fixed as well. >> we can talk more about that.
let's hear from brent in california. >> caller: yes. this has been the first time i've had a chance to break through. i have a general question to the doctor. i think it's unfair that the doctor is a doctor one way or the other regardless of what day it is. is there still a big push for graduate students to publish? i know my ex-wife got her master's and later her ph.d. and she's now teaching at unlv. she managed to get herself published. i was urged by her to continue to go after my master's, even though i just retired at 30 years of working as an investigator. is the push really strong for people to publish?
if so, doesn't this kind of give -- when the idea is to publish within your field or within your field of study, there's so many sub fields that people can get into. isn't there a lot of competition and often a lot of differing views? >> that's an excellent question. it's a series of questions there. let me say that i can sympathize with your approach. my wife returned to academics and got her master's after 30 years of running businesses in other areas. the adult scholar is an interesting approach in education these days. what we're talking about is not the individual who has gotten a master's degree in a professional area or an individual who has gotten a professional doctorate but the individual who got a ph.d. and is going into academics. those degrees are designed to train individuals who are going to produce scholarship as we
traditionally know it. we measure scholarship in a variety of ways. it's not just publication. if you generate new ideas and you get them out there for others to benefit from, then you are going to be publishing. if you are not publishing at all, then i would have to question whether you are doing what you were trained to be doing. now in my mind, having sat on the committees that make these decisions for tenure, it's not how many publications you've had. it's the quality of the publications, their impact, are people reading them, are they citing them, are they important contributions to the field. it's not a numbers game, although, it is sometimes portrayed that way. however, part of the business of being a ph.d. who is educating and doing research is getting your new idea and your new concept, your new information out to the rest of the world. >> we will go to california, mary, a student there. hi. you are on the air. >> caller: how are you?
>> morning. >> caller: i just have a quick question for dr. barchi. he spoke on it earlier about for his university there about the connection between future leaders, future students and the type of environment that they will have to be employed in in keeping our country moving forward and being the leader. he laid out a good example for his university. but i don't see this -- i don't see this across other universities as prevalent as it should be. in fact, i actually see other people from other countries -- which is not a problem. but people from other countries coming in and occupying those jobs that our citizens -- people that are in this country should be -- have the available opportunity to have. >> okay. dr. barchi, do you share that concern? >> well, you raise a good
question and a good point. i can't comment on how other universities do it. these are very i had yo sin consideratic things. i can tell you what we do here. we are serious about assessing manpower needs in the state because one of our primary jobs is to create an educated work force for the state of new jersey. but keep in mind that it's not a one to one time -- tie that if you look at college graduates 30 years out, 25 years out, you find that well over half of them have changed fields two or three times. they are doing jobs that are not necessarily what they majored in. education at the college level, the university level is all about training people to problem solve, training people to assess information, to communicate, to solve problems in a multiple ways and in a variety of disciplines to be able to change and adapt with the needs of the
time. and also, when we're educating our students, we are looking at two or three different tracks. in one way we're looking at training the leaders, the ones who are going to start the new companies, who are going to be the leaders in their fields. that's not everyone. on the other hand, we do want to make sure that all of our students are capable of succeeding in their field of interest and moving ahead and contributing not only to themselves and their families but to the society in which they live. >> here is a question on twitter from dee dee who says firms always say they can't find workers with the skills they need. are universities training to skills employers require? do you think that's more the role of a technical school, not a university? >> again, this is great to ask the question. it depends who was making that statement. if it's an industry that needs a worker that's skilled in a
particular kind of welding or assembly, that's not what we do at universities like rutgers. if it's a company that needs a student who has the intellectual and analytical skills to assess a problem and suggestions and carry through on that with a team of colleagues, we do train individuals to do that. i would hold ourselves fully accountable for that. we need to be able to provide our students not just with esoteric knowledge or humanistic knowledge that makes us all citizens but also with the analytical skills that allows us to succeed in the environments that we want to earn a living in. >> our next phone call is from lorna in michigan -- or maryland. is that right? >> caller: in maryland. >> go ahead. >> caller: yes. i wanted to talk about first off, i am happy that in 2009,
president redid how federal student loan payments were coming through third party banking institutions, which were double dipping money from the students and, you know, causing students to go into more debt. the banks were being paid by the students and the banks were being paid by the federal government. that was a policy instituted in it the early '90s under the reagan administration. since that time, the republicans have on a federal level depleted funds that budgets from -- funds from the budget that should have gone into public education and into universities throughout the united states causing the universities to become skeletonized which no institution can function, teach without the resources and the financial resources that they need to educate their students. on the state side, having
republicans lawmakers coming to the states in the early 1980s again, coming in, depleting our public schools of the funds and budget -- from the budget, the funds and resources that they needed to function, skeletonizing them until they broke them and made them so that our kids today can't possibly receive the same education that they received before the republicans came in in the early '80s. >> a lot there. dr. barchi, do you have -- something you want to weigh in on? >> you have raised a lot of points there. i'm not going to comment on the political aspects and who was in office when. you made one very important point that underlies most of the issues in higher education in the public universities and you can't provide a quality education if you can't afford to provide the infrastructure for the students. when you use the phrase
skeletonized the universities -- let me put this in perspective. we receive funds from the state at a level now in real dollars corrected for inflation that is the same as we received back in the early '90s, in spite of the fact that we educate more than 14,000 students in addition to what we had then with no additional support for that. rutgers used to receive 70% of its operating budget from the state. now it's around 20%. we are not unique. that's the state of play for all the big public universities. there's a limit to which you can go here. you cannot provide a quality education without someone helping to pick up the bills. as public universities, we don't have huge endowments, we don't have huge private sources of revenue. education is a benefit, not just for the student but also for the state and for the society. it's a critical factor. if it is such a benefit and we
know it is, training the citizens who are going to be part of the civil society, we have to agree that the society has to help to support it. that's the part that bothers me the most. keep cutting the budgets and yet turning back to the state universities and say, don't raise tuition and what? where is the money going to come from to educate students the way we need to do it? it's a huge problem. >> what do you think the outcome is if we continue on this track? >> well, i can tell you what we're doing here, and that is we are working very, very hard to think of how we can diversify the revenue sources that support a university and doing it as quickly as we can. we are looking at ways that we can build partnerships that with win win for the public sector companies and for the university financially. we are looking at ramping up contributions from our many alumni and supporters once they realize how critical this issue is.
we are looking at increasing the amount of federal grant activity we do, which can help offset some of the costs here. but mainly, we are looking very hard at how we reduce the costs in the university. how we take all of our corporate services and we bring them into the 21st century in terms of the most effective, most efficient way of providing the service at the least possible cost so that we have the responsibility of reducing cost at the say time we're asking people to provide us revenue. >> we are talking with the president of rutgers university, dr. robert barchi, part of our bus' big 10 college tour. we are on the campus of rutgers this morning. dr. barchi, i want to ask you about the eagleton institute of politics. what's its role and mission? >> it's a wonderful gem on campus. when this particular one is focused on the interface between our students and people in
public life, the legislatures, senators, folks who work in our legislature, bringing them together to exchange ideas to educate our students to think about public policy and help really build the bridge between the university and the public government sector. >> margaret in maryland, you are up. >> caller: yeah. i'm in the process of looking at colleges for any daughter. i'm comparing how much it costs 30 years ago when i was applying to universities and it was $5,000 for tuition and $5,000 for room and board. now you look at some institutions and it's over $40,000 for tuition and $15,000 for room and board, which just shows how fast in terms of the cost of education is really outpaced the rate of inflation. it seems to me that we need some
really bold solutions to address this problem. you were mentioning, dr. barchi, a couple of ideas. it seems to me we're just kind of going around the edges of the problem and not really tackling it in the way that it needs to be tackled to permit families to not incur so much debt and to still allow colleges to be -- for prosperity for lower income people. >> yeah. let me say that my mother was the first in her family to go to college. she went to the university of pennsylvania. i have kept on my desk in a little glass holder one of the cards that was her admission card to class that was her tuition for a semester. $200. $200 a semester. just to keep reminding me what that cost was. of course, for her family, that was a lot of money then, too.
one of the big issues you are raising here is juxtaposing the cost of education to the cost of education for a student and their family. there have to be seen as two different things. tuition, what it costs to come to a university, is one of the revenue sources. but a university like rutgers with a budget of $3.7 billion a year is a very large enterprise. you have to manage costs all across the board. you can't expect tuition to be the alternative revenue source when everybody else isn't providing their share, whether the state or the federal government or the private philanthropy or whatever. we can't put that burden on students anymore. part of the question is, how can we reduce the cost to students? that's question number one. question number two is, how can we reduce the cost of education at large? in many ways, i think that means resigning the traditional
university. it means providing education more effectively and efficiently using distance education for even students who are in residence. for example, at rutgers, students who are living on campus full-time are often taking one or more of their courses at least in part online by computer. so the time they spend in the classroom with our faculty is a higher quality time. recognized that more than 60% of our budget is personnel. faculty are very expensive. support staff are a major part of what we need to do. we have 26 million square feet of spare that we have to maintain in the university. anything we can do to reduce the cost while we improve the effectiveness of delivering education is something that needs to be done. that's independent of tuition. if we can do that, we can keep tuition cost down. >> dr. barchi, i want to ask you about players and coaches at rutgers university. many know ray rice.
here is a headline. rutgers erases ray rice at one time rice wasrutgers. he was the face of the fran cheese, t chise. some credit former rutgers football player rice the reason they were able to move to the big 10. was the decision made to they say erase ray rice from rutgers? how was that decision made? how difficult was it? >> first, let me back you up a little bit. i think we take a very, very firm line on the ethics of our d-1 athletics program. frankly, all of our athletics program. it's been one of my primary concerns since i came here.
i have a zero tolerance for any activities in our athletics programs which i do not think meet our standards of ethics. we train student athletes. 95% of our student athletes do not play professional sports. they need to be trained for a college degree that leads to an educational opportunity. i'm proud to say that the academic performance rating and the graduation rates rank in the ten 10% of the very top of the big ten. we do what we say we are doing. anybody that doesn't live up to those standards is going to be quickly out of our program. we have no tolerance for that. in regard to mr. rice, when he was at rutgers -- he was only here for three years. he is not one of our graduates. that was over seven years ago. he was a star player. we have had many star players since then. we have star players on our football team right now. but we don't hold up for public
accolade in our arenas individuals who we don't think represent the highest ethics that the university portrays right now. that's a decision that i make all the time. in this case, that i did make. and i continue to stand behind that decision. >> it's permanent then your decision to take down his image and videos from the stadium? >> again, it's not about ray rice. it's about who we choose to use as the exemparticular for our students and athletes. the entire cast could change next year or next week. it's not about an individual or mr. rice. it's about who we want to use as the best examples of that particular individual, whether it's number 52 up on the stadium sidelines there or it's one of our student athletes who does turn pro and is having a pro
career. at this point, mr. rice is not a pro football player. it would be an anomaly to have that video and include him. but that's not the point. the point is that we want to emphasize who we believe are outstanding examples of our product as student athletes. >> role models? >> exactly. >> we will go to lake charles, louisiana, a student there. go ahead. >> caller: yes. i am divonte. i'm a former student president of my campus which is $10,010,0. my question is something that louisiana has been doing a lot that's concerning me. you mentioned it, which is tieing higher education to work force needs. and while i think it's very important that states also look at the work force, i'm also
concerned as to the move of higher education to make sure that most of the degrees they are producing are only with the work force of the area. i come from louisiana, which is a very industrial area of oil and natural gas. so there's been a big move to make more of us engineers and kind of cut back on our degrees in political science, theater, history. so what is the balance that higher institutions should take when it comes to looking at the work force need of their state or their region but also not forgetting the true purpose of higher education, which is to create a well rounded, well educated critical thinker that can expand society? because i think it's more important to create the next innovator, to create the new apple or imb rather than to create a worker for a major company. what's the balance between work force and higher education?
>> that was a very educated question, which virtually gives the answer that i would give. very well expressed. let me put, if i can, another slant on it. because i agree wholeheartedly with virtually everything that you just said. i don't think i could say it better. but when you look at the educational institutions in the state, you often have the major university flagship university. you have a series of state universities and a series of state colleges and a series of two-year colleges. the coupling between the educational mission of each of those levels and the immediate needs of the state work force is different. so that question has to be answered very differently for a two-year college or a four-year college or the flagship university of the state. i think the flagship university should be concerning themselves with the future needs of the
nation. exactly the kinds of ways that you talked about. adaptable and educatable -- educate work force that can be the citizen of tomorrow's civil society and can be the innovator and the problem solver. it may be that a two-year college must be more sensitive to the immediate needs of the business in its region. i am not in favor of tieing tightly the educational programs of a university -- a four-year university like ours to the work force needs as determined by some sort of a survey. remember that those surveys reflect people's opinions two, three, four years ago. and they finally get to a university that might change its programs for students that are going to graduate two, three, four years in the future. frankly, nobody can predict what the hot fields are going to be. that coupling doesn't make any logical sense at all.
we need to be training individuals who are going to be adaptable for the needs of tomorrow and the businesses of tomorrow. more importantly, we need to be training individuals who can help to govern our society and can be participating in the government and really determine how we make decisions tomorrow. that's really critical. i think actually we're saying that the same thing. i my saw, my congratulations to mike fitts who has taken over as your new president. he was a colleague in my former university. you have yourself a great president down there. >> dr. robert barchi, president of rutgers university, we are out of time. want to thank you and the university for allowing us to come there today and for you to talk with our viewers about higher education. appreciate it. >> it's been a pleasure.
on news makers, vermont senator bernie sanders. he talks about efforts to revamp the v.a. by robert mcdonald. the lame-duck congress and what he expects in the next congress and campaign 2016. sunday at 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. the 2015 c span student cam video competition is under way. create a five to seven minute documentary on the theme the three brafrms and you showing how a policy law or action by the exec he cannive, legislative has affect y